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Mindy’s Top Ten Conference Tips

Angela Breidenbach, ACFW publicity officer, here: Please welcome our guest blogger today, Mindy Obenhaus. You can find her regular blog posts at or group blogging on She’s also an ACFW Genesis finalist in romantic suspense and a long time ACFW member as well as our Carol Award coordinator.

Mindy: I don’t know about you, but I’ve been anticipating the 2010 ACFW conference since about September 20, 2009. ACFW conference is the highlight of my year. I get to see old friends, recognize online buddies, and build life-long relationships. I get to spend four days with people who don’t find it the least bit strange when I talk about my hero and heroine as if they were my children. And I get to experience God in an atmosphere that is like no other.

Getting ready for conference can be a job–business cards, pitches, one-sheets…. In all the excitement, the basic stuff sometimes falls through the cracks. So allow me to share some of my favorite conference tips.

• DO dress in layers. Those meeting rooms can be freezing or stuffy.

• DON’T stress out over having to make every workshop.

• DO bring a good attitude. Yes, there will be lines. No, things won’t be perfect. Choose to adapt.

• DON’T forget your business cards. Even if you’re not planning to meet with any editors or agents, you’ll want them available to exchange with friends.

• DO bring a few just-in-case items, like safety pins and band aids. Nothing worse than to discover those new shoes are rubbing a blister on your heel or that you’ve popped a button. Sewing kits, if not in the room, can usually be obtained from guest services.

• DON’T plan to break in a new pair of shoes at conference. Trust me on this one.

• DO allot a portion of your conference budget for tipping. Skycap at airport – $2 first bag, $1 per additional bag; Airport or hotel shuttle drivers – $1-$2; Bellhops – $2 first bag, $1 per additional bag; Hotel housekeeper – $2-$5 per day, left daily. Anyone who cleans my bathroom and makes my bed is worth that!

• DON’T take it personally if an editor/agent doesn’t ask to see any of your work. Your manuscript may not be a fit for them or it may need work. Remember, this is their business. They’re not trying to hurt you.

• DO make at least one trip to the prayer room. You’ll be glad you did.

And finally –
• DON’T corner your targeted agent/editor in the bathroom (or anywhere else) and try to pass them your manuscript!

Happy Tuesday, and happy conferencing 🙂

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